A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dragon Soldiers is a 2020 action-fantasy movie in which a team of mercenaries sent into the mountains to find missing hikers discover that a dragon is on the warpath. Expect constant military violence, fantasy violence, and some blood and gore. The mercenaries are armed to the teeth with assault rifles, sniper rifles, guns, grenades, explosives, and when not trying to stop the dragon, they do battle with a militia and homeless veterans that have formed a death cult after the dragon breathed gas on them. Bloody stabbing deaths. Sniper killings -- characters shot in the forehead. Limbs cut off, chewed up by the dragon. Frequent profanity, including "f--k" and "motherf---er." One of the characters chews tobacco. Another mercenary seems to have a drinking problem and shows up to the mission hungover and occasionally leaning against a tree vomiting, and is later shown sneaking drinks from a flask.
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What's the story?
In DRAGON SOLDIERS, the mayor of a small Colorado mountain town hires a group of mercenaries to locate and return hikers who have gone missing in the woods. Led by Cameron (Ruben Pla), this group of battle-hardened veterans arrives in the woods, suspecting that either a backwoods militia or armed vagrants are the source of these disappearances. But when they find a severed head in a cooler with a clawed-off face and foot trails that seem to vanish as if they flew away, Cameron and his men begin to realize that there's something far more evil lurking in these woods. They soon discover that a dragon is terrorizing the woods, and as it begins to threaten the lives of the mercenaries, the mercenaries soon make another chilling discovery: A death cult of the homeless who were kicked out of the mountain town and militiamen is now centered on the dragon, and they are all-too-eager to find fresh bodies to offer to the dragon as sacrifices. The mercenaries must find a way to stop this death cult, destroy the dragon, and survive a battle like no other they've ever experienced.
Is it any good?
While no one expects great cinema from a movie like Dragon Soldiers, it's almost impressive to take in just how stupid, cliched, and uninspired this movie really is. Yes, it's self aware of its own dumbed-down schlock value, as evidenced by dialogue such as "It's a g--damn dragon, bro!" and one of the characters saying "Have a knife day" after slitting the enemy's throat. It could be deliberately bad like the Sharknado franchise, or unintentionally bad, or a combination of the two, but the bottom line is that it doesn't merit that much contemplation. It was a dark day for movies when computer animators started making computer-animated dragons and the studios decided to make movies centered on said computer-animated dragons, and Dragon Soldiers is the latest in this unwatchable genre.
Some movies are "so bad, they're good." This is a movie that is "so bad, it's mediocre at best." The characters are pretty much stereotypes seen in so many other action movies. The dragon, who, like all dragons, breathes fire, flies, and sometimes shrieks, has more depth to its character than its human counterparts. The audience can be forgiven if they find themselves rooting for the dragon as the movie grinds on from one gratuitously violent scene to the next. While there's nothing inherently bad about low-budget, dumb action movies, it's a problem when the stupidity isn't creative or at least entertaining, which is what separates this from, say, the first Sharknado.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about this movie's intended audience. Who do you think this was made for, and why?
Could this movie be considered "so bad, it's good," or is it just bad? What are some examples of movies that might be considered guilty pleasures?
Was the graphic violence necessary to the movie, or did it seem like it was gratuitous? Why?
- On DVD or streaming: May 11, 2020
- Cast: Antuone Torbert, Ruben Pla, Tarkan Dospil
- Director: Hank Braxtan
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some bloody violence and language.
- Last updated: October 22, 2021
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